Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Rome - What They Do And Don't Tell You

For a long time I have wanted to visit Rome and recently I was lucky to spend some time in this historic city. There are many guides on what to see in Rome so I won't reinvent the wheel but here are some tips I have picked up along the way, and things I wished I had known before I went.




Paintings in The Vatican
When to go

Spring and Autumn are good times to visit as the climate it pleasant. In the summer the heat and crowds can be oppressive. Take an umbrella is my recommendation for visiting Rome in the Spring. It rained every day on my recent trip. If you don't have an umbrella in the rain you will be approached by many numerous sellers trying to get you to buy an umbrella!

Taxis are expensive

Don't be caught paying over the odds for taxis. Go to the official taxi rank at the airport and you will find there is a fixed price to the centre of Rome. This is currently 48 euros. People may approach you offering to take you for 80 euros - be careful not to be ripped off.

If you don't mind taking a bus you can book this in advance for 4 euros single and then get a taxi to your hotel from the Termini station.


The Roman Forum

Plan in advance

Popular tourist sites such as the Colosseum get tremendously busy. The Colosseum is the busiest attraction in Rome and has huge queues, and I mean huge! They say it gets over 4 million visitors a year. Book a ticket online and for an extra 2 euros you skip the lines! You can also buy an audio guide at the attraction. Highly recommended.



The Colosseum


Consider taking a guided tour

Guided tours of places like the Vatican and the Sistine chapel can breathe life into the history. A tour is as good as the guide however. Unfortunately the one we had wasn't very good so you do take your chance here. Again you may feel it's worth paying for a guide, to skip the long queues to get into the Vatican. You can take photos inside the Vatican but not the Sistine chapel.

Go off the beaten track

Sometimes the unusual attractions are the most interesting. We visited the Capuchin monk museum and crypt. If you have children that have a morbid fascination with death, or you just like unusual things then this may interest them or you. The crypt is full of skulls and bones of monks arranged into various displays.

Say no firmly

Hawkers are everywhere selling scarves, umbrellas, key rings, and all manner of souvenirs. They often approach you if you are eating a meal outside, especially near a popular tourist area. The best way to get rid of them is to avoid eye contact but if persistent say "No" loud and firmly. I am sure most of you are familiar with this!




The Trevi Fountain

Crowds are everywhere

Crowds are everywhere, however at night is a good time to visit some of the attractions like the Spanish Steps as it is much quieter and also more romantic at night.

Cafes and restaurants

If you stand by the bar in a cafe it is cheaper if you just want a drink, rather than sit down. Many restaurants charge a cover charge which includes bread of a couple of euros each. The majority of the restaurants sell decent quality Italian food, pasta, pizza and meat dishes, however if you want other cuisine you may have difficulty finding it in Rome. The meat dishes are often just meat on its own. You would have to order vegetables separately. 

Pharmacies

Pharmacies are very good and most offer advice in English. You can buy some items in Rome like antibiotic drops which you can't buy over the counter in the UK without a prescription. 

Rome is a lovely city, and with a bit of planning you can make the most of your time here. I hope my tips have helped you if you plan to go in the future. If you have already been tell me what you thought of the city or if you have any tips yourself.

I will leave you with the words of my husband who could be a tour guide .. "Here is the old stuff, here is the Roman stuff and here is the God stuff..."
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40 comments

  1. Great tips to bear in mind when visiting Rome. You've got some wonderful shots of the city too - it looks just wonderful.

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    1. Thank you, not bad shots considering some were taken on my phone.

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  2. What a greta blog post ! and those photos are beautiful

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    1. Thank you Claire, that is very kind of you to say so.

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  3. Wow fabulous post! Some really great tips I hope I get to visit Rome one day

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  4. Love your photo's great to see them. Good tips about visiting in the evening. We did that in Paris with the Eiffel Tower. My tip in any touristy city is find a English speaking local and ask where they shop and eat, great to buy foods and branded drinks cheaper.

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    1. That's a great tip Jo I must admit :) You can come with me next time!

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  5. I have never been, but great tips x

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  6. I've never been but would love to one day

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  7. i would love to go to rome! and i agree, just in general it's good to plan some things in advance as much as possible.

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    1. I am naturally a planner and I think you do need to plan in advance as it can save you time and money.

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  8. Thank you for those great tips. Rome is always somewhere we have wanted to go but we will be waiting until the children are older first.

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  9. I have always wanted to visit Rome. We did want to go for our honeymoon but I got pregnant before we could plan it! We have said when the children are older we'll go just the two of us and leave the children with my parents. Thanks for the great tips!

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    1. Hope you will get the chance to go one day!

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  10. Great tips! Rome looks lovely place I have always wanted to go.

    Sophie
    xx
    www.pocockins.co.uk

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    1. Maybe one day you will have the chance.

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  11. Looks like you had a fabulous trip. I would love to visit Rome and will keep these tips in mind

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  12. Great tips should I ever be lucky enough to actually go!

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  13. Lovely picutres! Thanks for sharing all the tips ;-) good to know if we decide to go somewhere for a short break!

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  14. Thank you for these tips - we hope to visit Rome one day - hope it happens! Your photos of the city look lovely.

    In Paris we had the same trouble with hawkers under the Eiffel Tower... I'm sure they're a problem in lots of major cities, and the advice to loudly say "no" is great advice.

    I recently posted: Free Things To Do In Essex: Hainault Forest Country Park

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    1. Yes Michelle, you don't really get the hassle in the UK to the extent I've seen in Rome and Paris.

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  15. we honeymooned in Rome so its very special to me! Villa Borghese is a beautiful escape from the heat and crowns, we hired a bianchi so much fun! @msedollyp

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  16. Gorgeous photos. Rome is on my bucket list!

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  17. I have never been to Rome but I hear that it can be incredibly busy so going out of season is appealing to me. The photographs look stunning, it is incredible to imagine those places filled with with ancient Romans.

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    1. Yes the colosseum could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 people apparently!

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  18. Somewhere I'd love to go to.

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  19. Thanks for sharing.
    We went to Rome pre kids and loved it so much. We saw all those sites. Our hotel over looked the trevi fountain

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    1. That sounds like a great spot, although I guess it could have been noisy.

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  20. Great tips! And some apply to a lot of countries too! I would love to visit someday!

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    1. Hope you get the chance one day Charlotte.

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  21. I have been to Rome twice and I loved it, I went on a royal caribbean cruise both times and it was amazing. The vatican and underground tombs were incredible as was the trevi foundation (apart from the rat!) x

    Heather | Of Beauty & Nothingness

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    1. I have never been on a cruise, I would love to visit lots of different cities on a holiday.

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  22. Great tips! I have friends who've visited at the height of Summer and regretted it - as you say, too hot and too busy.

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  23. It must have been 2007 when I visited Rome and it was brilliant, except we went at the end of August and I don't fare well in the sun! It was truly magical and we were lucky not to get stuck in too many crowds - everything was wonderful - especially the food.
    I think I was SO in love with the city even busy times weren't enough to put me off.

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    1. I think it didn't help that I was poorly when I was there.

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  24. Some great tips here. I enjoyed looking at the pics too :)

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